Hiroshima, Building Peace in this World
Immortalised by the devastation of the first atomic bomb in 1945, and a shining beacon of light in the aftermath through its sheer resilience, today, Hiroshima shines brighter than before, and is a true symbol of world peace. Occupying a beautiful area in western Honshu, it safeguards the reminders of the tragic event as a symbol of its commitment towards a peaceful world.
Originally a castle town in the 16th century, after Mōri Terumoto built Hiroshima Castle, the present day sees a vibrant, bustling city that offers an insight into history, unique gastronomic pleasures and serves as the gateway to the magical Miyajima Islands.
When to visit
April and May offer excellent weather and beautiful cherry blossoms while October and November are also comfortably dry with pleasant temperatures. Consider as well the winter months, not too cold, or wet.
Take a stroll through the Peace Memorial Park, marking the circumference where the atomic bomb exploded, and visit the hypocentre and memorials to the victims. You’ll find the Memorial Cenotaph, an arched tomb built in traditional Shinto style providing protection to the victims’ souls, while the Flame of Peace, burning symbolically since 1964, acts as an inspiration for lasting peace.
For a hard-hitting knowledge of the bombing and its effects, visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and the Children’s Peace Monument that is adorned with colourful paper cranes, in memory of Sadako Sasaki, a twelve-year old girl who succumbed to the evils of post-bombing radiation. However, nothing serves as a constant reminder of the horrors of war as the A-Bomb Dome, which stands in skeletal ruins across the river.
Look beyond the memory of tragedy, and you’ll see a thriving international community, reflecting a cosmopolitan outlook. There are numerous places to shop, to eat and to spend your time. Hiroshima’s culinary offerings include the ubiquitous okonomiyaki, the local version presenting a thin pancake on which yakisoba noodles are spread and generously topped with cabbage, and completed with bonito flakes, some greens and okonomiyaki sauce. The region’s specialities also include oysters and the famous dessert, maple leaf pastries.
Of course, you must visit Hiroshima’s rebuilt historical heritage, like the Hiroshima Castle and the beautifully landscaped Shukkei-en Garden. Wander into the Museum of Art adjacent to the garden if you enjoy the works of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and some important Japanese artists.
And last, but not least, a visit to Hiroshima is incomplete without sailing to Miyajima Island, where you can feast your eyes on the magnificent, floating Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage Site, the enchanting Mt. Misen and the other ancient shrines on the mountainside.
What to do
– Walk down the Peace Memorial Park
– Explore Miyajima Island for its shrines and deer
– Savour okonomiyaki and maple leaf pastries